“Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori

Painting In Our PJs In the Morning

Sophie woke up wanting to “teach the boys how to paint.” She’s not the most patient of teachers. She also dislikes mixing colors. Although the pictures depict a rather lovely experience (and for awhile, it was), it did not end well. I suppose, for a more truthful depiction, I should take pictures across the spectrum. Too often, though, I’m solving and resolving at the one of the spectrum, leaving little time for picture-taking—whereas the other end of the spectrum is the stuff you dream motherhood is going to be, with plenty of time for dreamy documenting.

“A child’s attitude toward everything is an artist’s attitude.” —Willa Cather

The Side Effects of Encouraging Creativity

The kids decided to make a train. Clever and cute, right?

They did this to the playroom in order to make it.

“That’s what children are for—that their parents may not be bored.” —Ivan Turgenev

Our (Tiny) Playroom

In addition to the three bedrooms and one bath on our second floor there is a small, maybe 8×10 room that the previous owners used as a walk-in closet. We live in a foursquare, which means our first floor consists of an entry, living room, dining room and kitchen. There’s no big finished basement. The attic is large and tall and will make a beautiful finished space someday, although Andy keeps reminding me it will be a many-years-from-now someday. In short, we don’t have a lot of extra space for toys. So we decided to turn what was a walk-in closet into a playroom. The kids still have toys in their bedrooms. Baskets of toys reside in the entry. And living room. The play kitchen is in the dining room. And there’s always a block or car under foot in the kitchen. But this room, although small, holds many—if not most—of the toys (particularly, the craft supplies). It serves as a creative space, a space I don’t mind getting messy. And often it’s a quiet space for Sophie to retreat to, when she’s tired of the boys “decorating” her artwork.

The shelving unit is the ever-popular EXPEDIT from Ikea. For storage we purchased eight DRONA Boxes, also from Ikea. They’re fine, given the price, but I often wish the unit was filled with prettier baskets.

My mom and I made the garland, inspired by The Purl Bee, for Sophie’s nursery when she was baby. You can see a sort-of tutorial here.

The artwork is from Trafalgar’s Square by Kit Chase. I ordered them from Zulily but you can also purchase them from her Etsy site here.

We were going to paint an entire wall with black chalkboard paint … until Andy found some old slate roof tiles in our attic. I fell in love with them, and insisted we use them as chalkboards instead.

The eraser, from my mom’s teaching days, reminds me so much of elementary school, clapping those green-covered erasers together, washing down the black chalkboards with a bucket and sponge.

This artwork, courtesy of the kids, hangs on Ikea’s DEKA curtain wire.

This lovely little table was a gift to Sophie several years ago, from Grandma and Paw Paw.

I love Land of Nod’s Art Caddy. Every time I order something from Land of Nod I tend to throw one of these in my online shopping basket. We now own three, and each is used every day.

Some of the storage isn’t quite adequate, but works. Plastic shoe boxes from Target hold shells and snake skin, poofy balls, glittery ribbon and plastic beads. A wooden crate from a Melissa & Doug musical instrument kit holds all the Play-Doh. And dress-up clothes reside in a (very) large basket on the floor.

Two paper lanterns hang in the room. They were a gift from my friend Linda, who found them in a “free” pile at work.

This little handmade wooden toy, which I purchased at Tamarack, often resides on the window sill.

This guy is a handmade toy from Switzerland. My mother-in-law purchased it for me years ago while on a business trip. I miscarried, and the toy sat on our piano in an otherwise toy-empty house for a long time. And now I smile every time I look at it and its surroundings.

Perhaps my favorite decorative element of the playroom, though, is this. Sophie drew it and hung it up on the wall with a red glitter heart sticker. It’s a picture of Sophie and Andy, and when Andy asked her about it she said it was called “Between Friends.”

The playroom small. And still needs (a little) work. But it’s loved and played in every day. Which, I suppose, is the very definition, and purpose, of a playroom.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson